As we slowly approach the end of our country’s Transmogrifying Trumpocracy, we need to channel the departing tweetmaster and ask ourselves a single question about the new administration: What’s in it for Colorado?
We gave Joe Biden an overwhelming victory in a once-purple state that has turned dark blue. We’re now more reliably Democratic than Massachusetts or Maryland, since both have Republican governors. We need to be rewarded for being on the winning side — and not just by policies that a majority of Colorado voters support.
Sure, it’ll be great when Biden and his team throw out the coal lobbyists, climate deniers and pandemic-ignoring quacks that have infested the government during Trump’s term — that’s what we voted for. But politics is about more than policy.
As New York City power broker William M. “Boss” Tweed well understood, it’s about jobs. You reward your most loyal supporters with jobs, thereby ensuring that they remain loyal. You seek competence and honesty, and guard against leakers, backstabbers and fair-weather friends.
As kindly ol’ Joe necessarily becomes tough, powerful and exacting President Joe, he needs include a few Republicans and westerners in his inner circle. He’s an East Coast guy who seems most comfortable with folks whom he’s known and trusted for decades, but he needs to look west — and that means Colorado.
Not to blow our own horn, but it’s arguable that Colorado is the best-governed state in the country and that Colorado Springs is the best-governed city. You want competent public servants? Our state has hundreds, Republican or Democrat. Here are some suggestions for the new pres:
Sen. Cory Gardner didn’t deserve the thrashing he got on Nov. 3, but it wasn’t personal — it was Trump. Gardner’s a thoughtful, honorable man who could fill any number of roles in a Biden administration, unless he’s already lined up another position. Give him a call — attorney, former Senator, born and raised in rural eastern Colorado.
By the time this column reaches print, you may already have chosen an attorney general. If not, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers would be your best choice. He’s been a district attorney, U.S. attorney and Colorado attorney general. By appointing him, you’d depoliticize the office of attorney general and gain a wise, utterly trustworthy and patriotic counsel who happens to be a lifelong Republican. No Senate confirmation problems here!
During the next four years, you’ll need to deal with issues around election security, real or imagined. Moving forward will require many states to adopt secure, universal vote by mail systems. Colorado has perfected just such a system, so it would make sense to appoint a federal czar to help other states do so. The logical candidates: the former and present Colorado Secretaries of State, Wayne Williams and Jena Griswold. Republican Williams, 57, is presently a member of the Colorado Springs City Council, while 36-year-old Griswold is a rising Democratic star. Both may be too committed to Colorado to move to the Swamp, but they might give you a recommendation or two.
Finally, you need to follow your best instincts and focus on things that really matter to Americans and to guys in the swing states that you narrowly carried this November. Your advisors will tell you to focus on jobs, manufacturing and economic revival. That’s fine, but the future’s uncertain and sometimes things don’t work out. As an 80-year-old guy I know what my peers like, and so do you: cars and dogs. You’re replacing dog-despising, golf-cart-driving Donnie and bringing two fine dogs and your ’67 Vette to the White House. Regular guys totally approve regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, place of birth or party affiliation.
That’s why you need to create a new cabinet-level position: Secretary of Cool Cars and Canines, dedicated to improving the lives and safety of our furry friends and showcasing American cars past, present and future. And in the spirit of Boss Tweed, I’ll be glad to take the job. I can offer you the wisdom of age (in my eyes, you’re still a kid!) and deep experience with cars and dogs. I’ll show up for the first cabinet meeting in my 2004 merlot-red T’Bird with one of our three rescue dogs in the passenger seat. And we’ll all have fun — if we can get John Kerry to stop blathering about climate change…